Pavelko assumes command of HT-28

Published on September 18, 2013 with No Comments

Following 15 months at the helm, Cmdr. Christopher Pesile turned over command of Helicopter Training Squadron TWENTY-EIGHT over to Lt. Col. Jeff Pavelko on Sept. 20 in a 10 a.m. ceremony at Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s Atrium building.

The change of command ceremony is a Navy tradition that enables the two officers to formally exchange duties in front of the assembled squadron crew.  It is also a time to recognize the accomplishments of the outgoing commander in front of his family and friends.  Training Air Wing FIVE Commodore Capt. James Fisher will serve as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

Under Pesile, the “Hellions” flew more than 58,000 mishap free flight hours and completed in excess of 31,000 sorties culminating in the completion of helicopter flight training by 460 Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Allied pilots.  His leadership helped earn the squadron an outstanding on the Chief of Naval Air Training safety inspection.  An enthusiastic supporter of the community, Pesile and the “Hellions” volunteered more than 900 hours to local programs.

Pesile is the squadron’s fifth commanding officer.

A 1994 Naval Academy graduate, Pesile earned his helicopter “Wings of Gold” from HT-18 in Aug. 1996.  He first served with Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron ELEVEN (HS-11) flying the SH-60F out of Jacksonville, Fla.  He returned to NAS Whiting Field in 2000 as a primary flight instructor with Training Squadron SIX flying the T-34 Turbomentor.  Subsequent tours includedYokosuka, Japan aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) with Carrier Strike Group FIVE; a return to HS-11; and a tour with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.  Pesile also earned his Masters of Science degree in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego before returning to NAS Whiting Field again as the “Hellions” executive officer.

His next tour will be in Sasebo, Japan as the Air Boss on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6).

After serving more than a year as the executive officer for HT-28, Pavelko assumes the reins of command with more than 19 years of USMC experience.   He has served tours with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169 out of Camp Pendleton, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 165 as part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, Marine Air Group-29 as the Future Operations Officer, the “Gunrunners” of HMLA-269 and as the executive officer of MAG-29.  Pavelko has completed several tours in Iraq, including the final deployment of an HMLA squadron in the country.  Pavelko also earned his master’s degree in Military Studies from the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va.

The new executive officer is Cmdr. Jeffrey Ketcham.

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